I think it was about a decade ago when I bought my first Mac and changed my loyalties for life. Up to that point now feels like a different lifetime; a lifetime of disappointments, freezing, not responding, egg timers and constant arguments with inanimate objects.
My first Mac, a cute little iBook, opened my eyes to a whole new world of computers that actually did what you wanted them to do without needing to use harsh words, coddling or technical kicks up the arse. And not only that, he did it all in style. Inside and out he was aesthetically pleasing and I haven’t looked back since.
So that was my first home Mac, and rather uninspiringly I named him Mac. He stayed with me until I went to uni and was then traded in for Megamac. Now he was impressive. My first MacBook Pro. Shiny silver, backlit keyboard, 15” screen, dual core and the biggest hard drive I’d ever seen, with the exception of the fully loaded iMacs at uni.
At the same time as Megamac I also acquired an old iBook clamshell as a side project. I never gave that one a name as it was always going to be a Mac that I tinkered about with, upgraded and then sold on. I did that twice with clamshells during my time at uni and sorely regretted selling them both times, even though it was mission accomplished.
Well, Megamac was ‘the one’ during all this, and he did me proud, but when his rapidly aging specifications started to struggle with handling huge graphic files and 3d animations, I upgraded to Mechamac – bigger hard drive, more RAM, wider screen and in every way better than his predecessor. But I was so sad the day I sold Megamac and said my goodbyes.
You see, Macs aren’t just inanimate objects, they are companions – reliable, supportive, talented, individual, and always there for you, just, in a way, like friends.
So Megamac made way for Mechamac and he was put through some really tough times. That dual operating system worked him hard. I still shudder to see Windows running on Macs – there is just something inherently wrong about it. Although, of course, I still didn’t have to look at those dreadful words ‘not responding’ – funny how that never happened when Windows was running on the Mac! Enough said.
Anyway, part way through uni times were changing and I decided to transfer my degree to the University of New South Wales in Sydney and flee the UK. Mechamac was too big and too precious for that adventure, so I switched to Mac number four: Meteormac. He had a smaller screen and a tougher outer casing but was bigger in every other way. That was 2008.
For five years Meteormac has been everywhere with me – beaches, mountains, planes, trains, hotels, hostels, through good times, bad times, more change than I can remember and now, over five years on, somewhat older and a little bruised, bashed and scraped, it is time to put him into graceful retirement. I’m really finding the prospect of selling him hard – it’s hard letting go of someone who has been with you a long time, but when you love someone, sometimes you have to let them go for their own good. And yours.
So now I enter a new decade and a new era with Ultimacia (yes, that is a deliberate misspelling of a Final Fantasy boss there) at my side. She is beautiful, powerful, radiant, and in every way superior to her predecessors, but the important thing to remember is that without them, without the past, I would not have the present.
Yes, this may be a tour of my companions from the last several years, but it is also a reminder that where we have been, what we have done, who we have known, how we’ve felt, and why, has shaped us into who we are today.
It is important not to forget that.
We are the sum of our experiences, and our experiences are the sum of our imagination.